A perfectly timed pitstop called by strategist Tim Cindric propelled Josef Newgarden the win in the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit Race 1 at the Raceway at Belle Isle.

A massive thunderstorm approached the Detroit area 30 minutes before the scheduled green flag. That delayed the start of the race by nearly 90 minutes and shortened the competition from 70 laps to 75 minutes.

The engines fired as the skies cleared, but the 2.35-mile street circuit was still wet enough to warrant a damp start. Eighth place starter Zach Veach became the first victim of the conditions when he spun on the pace lap. The incident moved the IndyCar sophomore to the rear of the field and race control declared a green/yellow start.

Pole-sitter Alexander Rossi led the regrouped field to the green only to have the action truncated when AJ Foyt Racing driver Mattheus Leist spun in Turn 2 and Takuma Sato slid into Patricio O'Ward, knocking the Mexican rookie down the order from his starting spot of eighth.

Rossi pulled off a clean restart on Lap 5 while Scott Dixon followed while Felix Rosenqvist moved up to third while Will Power carved his way through the field and was running in fifth by Lap 9.

Rossi stretched the lead out to 1.79 seconds ahead of Dixon over the next seven laps as the Team Penske entries of Josef Newgarden and Will Power moved their way around Rosenqvist into third and fourth as defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay brought out a local yellow with a spin in Turn 7 on Lap 10.

The track got drier which prompted Rossi's Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti to gamble on tyre strategy and pit on Lap 12. Andretti returned to the track on primary black tyres in 22nd place and ferociously held on to his No. 98 Andretti Autosport Honda as his tyres came up to temperature.

Andretti's pitstop forced the hand of a few backtrackers as Ryan Hunter-Reay, Spencer Pigot, Santino Ferrucci and Veach pitted on Lap 16 followed by Newgarden on Lap 17.

Newgarden's call to pit road paid dividends as Ed Jones crashed in Turn 7 which brought ou the full course yellow.

That brought the remainder of the leaders down pit road. Power initially won the race off pit road, but his right front tyre wasn't secured and came off his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. He limped back to pit road on three wheels, costing him track position.

The pitstops shuffled Newgarden to the lead with Rossi in second ahead of Dixon, Rosenqvist and Hunter-Reay.

Newgarden left Rossi in the dust on the Lap 24 restart only to have his advantage erased when Dixon crashed in Turn 6 while running in third place.

The caution relieved Newgarden of any fuel worries as race strategist Tim Cindric previously informed his driver that his crew didn't get the tank full of Speedway E85 ethanol on his stop.

That didn't make Newgarden anxious on the Lap 28 restart as he jetted away from Rossi. A few drivers down in the top ten made some moves as Veach moved past Spencer Pigot for ninth and Sato clearing Rosenqvist for third just before another yellow flag flying on Lap 30 when Mattheus Leist crashed in Turn 7.

Newgarden and Rossi stayed together on the restart as Rosenvqist attempted to pass Sato heading into Turn 3 with no avail while Ryan Hunter-Reay held on to fifth ahead of Simon Pagenaud.

Sato and Rosenqvist lost touch with the top two as Rossi pressured Newgarden for the race lead. The race became a game of tit-for-tat with each driver burning through their push-to-pass.

Newgarden held the upper hand as the track dried and never faltered to cross the line .8237s ahead of Rossi after completing 43 laps.

"It was the perfect call to get us in the position that we needed," he said. "I was hoping it would dry up, I thought that would give us more opportunity to do something. But our Chevy car was awesome. The Chevy engine was perfect. I had the horsepower I needed."

The rest of the podium had a familiar look as Rossi and Sato finished second and third for the second straight week. Rosenqvist matched his best career finish by ending up fourth and Hunter-Reay ended the day fifth.

Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud improved from 13th to finish sixth ahead of 2017 Detroit winner Graham Rahal. Zach Veach recovered from his early race jaunt to score his best finish of the season so far in eighth as James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot rounded out the top ten.

Marco Andretti's tyre strategy proved futile as the field didn't bunch up under the yellow and left him mired in 16th place.

Will Power never recovered from losing his tyre on pit road and finished 18th. Scott Dixon's crash forced the first retirement for the Kiwi since Texas in 2017 and left him last in the running order.



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